What do Ken Block and I have in common? Both of us are part of a small and elite group of superpeople who can say they've driven a Ford Focus RS on public roads in the United States. Since he's busy, allow me to tell you why it's exactly as wonderful as you hoped it would be.
News that we'd be getting a new Ford Focus RS I can direct you to one of my favorite stories ever:
It's the time I was invited by Jalopnik reader Pete, who had the means, the energy, and the Mexican business license that allowed him to purchase one of only four RSs sent to our neighbors to the south as part of Ford's centennial celebrations.
Because we tipped him off to the sale Pete, a generous and wonderful spirit, allowed me to take the car out with Kevin McCauley for a spirited run while he waited in line for a table at Driftwood's famous Salt Lick restaurant (a lunch he later bought for a bunch of fellow Focus enthusiasts).
Definitely read the article because it tells you how the car handles and feels and looks and all of the stuff you get from a car review. The detail that I glossed over was how much it met my crazy expectations.
It's a part of life that things you've promised would be awesome – DeLoreans, Ferrari ownership, coitus in a Greyhound bus bathroom – are at best mediocre.
The Focus isn't one of those cars. Ford already made a competent hot hatch in the Focus ST when the last generation RS came out and the goal wasn't to build a fast but accessible vehicle like the ST, it was to build the most over-engineered FWD car to tackle the Nürburgring that you could also drive to Tesco or wherever it is Europeans drive when they're not on the Nürburgring.
Sure, the've since built faster versions with the RS500 and the Montune RS, but the original is still in the small class of cars like the CTS-V and Boss 302 that we can scarcely believe exist. Cars built for car people and no one else.
I'll admit, I was a little starstruck when I drove the car, but I've been starstruck about a lot of cars (including the Bugatti Veyron) and, after a while, you come back to realizing it's just a car. Maybe I didn't have enough time with the RS, but it felt like more than a car. It felt like some little bit of magic you could actually own. It felt totemic.
That wing. Those wheels. The sound, damnit, the sound!
Will the next RS be like the old one? I suspect not. Most of us are certain it'll be powered by a 2.3-liter turbo EcoBoost instead of a weird five-cylinder engine. It'll probably be AWD. But all it really has to do to meet my high expectations is to be faster than it's supposed to be, handle better than any car its size has any right to, and come in a bright green the color of an acid trip.
Photo Credit: Kevin McCauley